We are happy to announce that our proposal at the Volkswagen Foundation was successful! The foundation will support three symposia on the topic:
“From cases to general principles – Theory development through agent-based modeling”
The symposia will take place in the years 2018-2020 at Herrenhausen Palace in Hanover, Germany. We will announce more details regarding the dates and content.
Here is an overview of the events:
SYMPOSIUM I (2018): State of the art and epistemological perspectives on agent-based modeling and theory development
The first symposium is about bringing together perspectives and experiences with theory development using ABM. Short presentations and group discussions will provide information about existing ABM studies that contributed to theory in the disciplines, their value, and their limitations. Researchers from Philosophy of Science add to this by transferring knowledge about models and theory development from an epistemological perspective. The outcome of this first meeting will be a joint journal publication about the state of the art in theory development through ABM, and the learnings from Philosophy of Science for ABM.
SYMPOSIUM II (2019) – Best practice in agent-based model design and analysis for theory development
The second symposium is a forum for discussing the best practices and methods in the scientific disciplines to overcome methodological challenges and obstacles that might hamper theory development using ABM. This meeting includes presentations with critical reflections on current practices by discussants. In the end, a catalog of challenges, methods, and limitations will provides an overview of state of the art in model design and analysis. This is also the basis to identify research gaps and potentially unsolved problems.
SYMPOSIUM III (2020) – Synthesis of expertise and practices for improving theory development by agent-based modeling
The third and final meeting brings the results from the first two symposia together in a synthesis of expertise and practices. The resulting special issue of a journal, being the outcome of this meeting, will summarize the learnings and present new ways on how to make use of the potential of ABM for theory development, and discuss its limits and boundaries. The selected case studies, which were initiated in Symposium I and discussed in Symposium II, and which were carried out between the symposia will result in recommendations on how agent-based modeling can lead to identifying general principles and theories. These studies aim for high-profile publication, as they strive to transform the general perception of theory development in our highly interconnected, agent-based world.